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Feel guilty about declining ECV and sad about how I've been treated

(26 Posts)
PollyPocket245 Fri 31-Jul-20 17:59:16

Hi everyone smile,
I'm new on here, im currently 37+5 days pregnant with my first baby who is going to be a girl!
I wanted to post because I feel a bit upset and confused over an experience at my hospital. At 36 weeks I was told baby was transverse, they gave her five days to move or I would need to go into hospital. Thankfully at my next scan she had moved but she is now breech. I attended my antenatal day unit to talk through my options but from the minute I got into the scan I felt like they were really pushing me to have an ECV. I won't go into too much detail but I had two midwives talking at me about my options saying things like 'If it was MY baby I wouldn't take the risk' (regarding breech birth) and 'I don't know anyone who would elect for a c section over an ECV'. As I was leaving one midwife even said to me she thought I would be 'stupid' not to accept an ECV confused. They kept telling me that they weren't judging me and they were impartial but I wasn't once made to feel like I even had a choice and they certainly weren't being impartial. I had read up a little on ECV before the appointment and already decided on my own that I wouldn't accept but they made me feel like I was somehow inadequate if I didn't accept it and opted for a c section. So for the past few days I've been a nervous wreck thinking that I somehow had to convince myself into having the ECV.
I had my follow up appointment today where it was just assumed by every midwife there that I was having this flipping procedure and I kept having to correct them. When I eventually got into the room with the doctor she was again really trying to push me down that route and even started contradicting things that the other midwives had said in terms of the risk! When I explained that I wouldn't be going ahead with it she started to ask me why and slightly argue with me but in the end said she could see I had made up my mind.
I haven't had any problems with my care up until this point and every midwife I've spoken to has been lovely, it just seems this particular unit. It's all started to mess with my head a little and I'm starting to question myself about whether I've made the right decision. Am I thinking too much about this? Is this usual practice to get people away from C section? Any outside opinion would be helpful, I think I'm so far in my own head at the minute xxx

OP’s posts: |
Maincat Fri 31-Jul-20 18:16:25

I have no experience of this. However, if you've read up on the risks and don't want to have it done then that is totally your decision and you're right to make it. The two people I know who have had it done said it was painful and very unpleasant, and one ended with with an EMCS there and then.

Ultimately, your body, your baby, your choice. If you've done your research and made a decision you're happy with that's it. CS aren't without risks, but then you know that, so don't be persuaded otherwise if it's your choice to have one. X

ivfdreaming Fri 31-Jul-20 18:27:02

I didn't have this with my breach baby - the consultant mentioned having an ECV and I said I was not some bloody 🐄 on Countryside (where I've seen Vets turn calves before!) and he left it at that. He seemed very relaxed about it but of course I've never experienced midwife led care so not sure if they would have their own opinions on it and I know many can be very opinionated

I have to say looking back now - I subsequently lost both tubes to ruptured ectopic pregnancies as a result of scar tissue from my c section damaging my tubes - I wonder if I should have had the ECV. But don't let me put you off - my experience is like the worst possible scenario

resipsa Fri 31-Jul-20 18:31:02

I'm generally objective, rational and reasonable when it comes to decision making. I work in a job which examines medical risks specifically. I declined it too, had an elective section and am glad I did. Yes, it's major surgery but if you are fit for it, it's safe and easy to recover if you're sensible. Good luck!

resipsa Fri 31-Jul-20 18:34:48

And bear in mind that the current risk avoidance climate probably has an impact on how advice is delivered by the professionals. Not to mention potential costs savings. Stick by your informed decision.

Moonflower12 Fri 31-Jul-20 18:39:32

I was pressurised by my consultant into an ECV.
You are so wise to decline it. It was the most painful thing I have ever endured. To the point of making me feel physically sick.
I have a high pain threshold and had, had 3 babies previously without pain relief.

I ended up having an elective C section, which was amazing and so calm. I'd choose that over an ECV any day.

Anaesthetist83 Fri 31-Jul-20 18:55:55

I think this needs to be fed back. At the end of the day, the process of informed consent is designed that you are presented with open and honest pros and cons of a procedure and it’s alternatives and then you decide what you want. It is your decision, not the midwifes and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it.

I feel really lucky that my maternal request c-section (some underlying medical reasons, but nothing that contraindicates a vaginal delivery) was a simple discussion and at no point have I been made to feel uncomfortable about this. I shouldn’t need to feel lucky though - it should be the norm. I’m sorry. I wish you a stress free delivery.

FirstTimeBumps Fri 31-Jul-20 19:24:06

Breech baby (almost breech birth as u diagnosed). Had I known he was breech I would have done the same as you and declined. The chances of success are only 50% and to then possibly end in a section anyway? And what if there's a reason baby is breech? I'd raise it with PALS. Even if they are trying to sway away from a section there's a way to go about it without being rude.

wingingitalltheway Fri 31-Jul-20 19:32:29

I had an emergency c-section at 36 weeks because baby was breech but they didn’t know prior to me going into labour.
When she was born, they discovered that the umbilical cord was very short so if I had know in advance and had ECV it could have been very dangerous for us both and she definitely wouldn’t have been able to turn.
If I had known in advance I would have refused it too.

whoknowswhichwayisup Fri 31-Jul-20 19:45:34

I had to consider this with both my babies, and I would have chosen a c section personally.

You should complain about what the midwives said to you, they should be giving you the facts and allowing you to make your own decision.

princesspeppax Fri 31-Jul-20 19:49:26

I also opted to have a csection over and ECV & for me it was absolutely the best decision. I would make a complaint if I was you regarding it

FilthyforFirth Fri 31-Jul-20 19:52:50

You made the right decision. I stopped my evc halfway through and am very cross for agreeing to it at all. It was a horrific procedure and I worried so much about damaging my baby.

I was told there is every chance of the baby turning back as well so all that trauma for nothing potentially. I am very against them.

FoxtrotSkarloey Fri 31-Jul-20 19:53:29

Gosh, I'm sorry you've been through that. I had an ECV suggested and chose to go ahead. Whilst unpleasant the pain only lasted while the doctor worked on me and ultimately it didn't work so I had an ELCS. I never had any pressure to make a decision either way. Those comments don't sound very professional. I would complain.

cocodomingo Fri 31-Jul-20 19:57:42

I refused to have this procedure and having had an emergency c section opted for an elective. Even on the day they tried to tell me baby had turned and I should try a v bac. I very assertively insisted that I had with informed consent already decided to have a c section. On the delivery noted my son was delivered breach and at 5lb 2 on would likely turned again if ECV had been tried. Stand your ground...dont let them gas light you..your intuition is advising it.

teacuptale Fri 31-Jul-20 19:59:26

They shouldn’t have pressurised you like that. For what it’s worth, I had to consider ECV vs c section baby was breech at one point. In the end baby turned, but I was planning to refuse ECV.

helterskelter3 Fri 31-Jul-20 19:59:33

ECVs come with risks. They couldn’t do one on me because of other reasons but the consultant basically said that it is very painful and only works 50% of the time. It can also bring on early labour. I would absolutely not have been having one even if I could. A planned section is a lovely experience. Bizarrely relaxing. Those midwives sound like they need a course on people skills.

Maralb Fri 31-Jul-20 20:00:34

My mother in law had one years ago and stood up and felt the baby turn back around almost immediately! I am guessing you are in a trust that doesn't like c sections! Please advocate for yourself and don't let the trust politics get in the way x

PoppityBoo Fri 31-Jul-20 20:16:16

My baby was diagnosed breech at 36 weeks. After spending a long time researching the risks I decided to go ahead with the ecv as I felt the chance of having a head down birth carried less risk than the major abdominal surgery a C section is (albeit very routine and commonly carried out surgery). My ecv wasn’t successful but wasn’t overly painful. More tiring from the drug I was given to relax my uterus. I was scanned before, during and after the procedure and at no time felt baby was at risk of harm. After it failed I then had to make the choice between a c section or a breech vaginal delivery. (You do have this choice although lots of hospitals will push you towards a c section - I was heavily pressured to have one.) I was lucky that my baby was in a good position for a breech birth (frank breech) and that she was my second - I’d already had a successful head down vaginal birth before. I also had a fantastic community midwife fighting my corner. My baby girl arrived the day before I was due to have my section (at 9 days overdue) in a very speedy 2.5 hour labour. There is a great Facebook page called Breech birth UK that I would recommend, and take a look at the spinning babies website for different ways of encouraging baby to turn. I sympathise as finding this out late in pregnancy really threw me for a while and made the last few weeks feel very stressful. Whatever you choose will be the right decision for you.

Extracurricularfatigue Fri 31-Jul-20 22:47:50

I’m so sorry you feel like this. Definitely talk to PALs about it as their language was deeply unhelpful.

My friend had an ECV and like a PP she ended up with an emergency C section on the spot because it went wrong, and it was very traumatic.

Has anyone mentioned moxibustion to you? It sounds ludicrous but it has a higher success rate than ECV. Basically it’s burning a special sort of stick next to your little toe (I know, I know). My midwives recommended it though. Also the Spinning Babies website, for positions to encourage your baby to move. My baby moved from breech at 37 weeks after moxibustion and hanging upside down off the sofa, although it could have been chance!

Also do ask about a breech delivery if it’s something you would be prepared to think about. I was offered that as an option.

SinkGirl Fri 31-Jul-20 22:55:17

Yes, our units are trialling moxibustion at the moment as an alternative to ECV. Worth considering if you still want to try for a vaginal birth.

Please feed this back - if you have a Maternity Voices partnership in your area contact them

WellTidy Fri 31-Jul-20 23:05:34

I had a ECV at 38 weeks With my first baby and would never have one again. It was brutal. And really painful. I went into labour naturally at 40+4 but needed an EMCS at 40+7 for failure to progress so it all for nothing. I wish I’d had an ELCS and not been utterly exhausted after three days of labour and then surgery and then a baby to feed and look after.

PollyPocket245 Sat 01-Aug-20 08:44:44

Thank you so much for all the replies, I didn't expect to have so many. It's helped me see that how I was treated wasn't right and I will write a complaint to PALS with the hope that no one else has to be railroaded like that. I really feel a lot better about my choice after reading through what everyone had written.
Accepting a section was difficult enough without being made to feel bad about my decision, I certainly don't have anything against them but I do have a slight phobia of surgery and think it being my first time I had ideas of a lovely natural labour so it was a kick in the teeth to find it wouldn't be possible.
In terms of breech birth, they gave it as an 'option' but said in order to have one I have to go into labour naturally before 41 weeks, need no help during labour (dilate quickly in a good time frame), agree to be hooked up to the bedside monitor and I wouldn't be allowed a water birth, an epidural if needed or any opiate based pain relief. I would also need to agree to having more professionals in the room during the birth confused. It was an option that wasn't really an option and sounded like I would end up with a section anyway. I overheard them talking behind the desk and they were saying that Leeds hospital have a whole team of midwives who do breech births and really support them. It did make me think that a skill is being lost with midwives.
I am certainly looking into moxibustion today, I didn't realise it was used in some NHS hospitals and looks to have a good success rate.
After my pre op hopefully I will never have to speak to them again and can try and get on with having a positive experience smile

OP’s posts: |
JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Sat 01-Aug-20 09:17:26

Op there is a woman on here whose baby died after an ecv. I believe the cord got wrapped around the neck during it and this wasn't picked up in their monitoring. The thread was heartbreaking. She said the dr came to her bed afterwards and cried with her.

The whole thing about monitoring, lots of ppl in your room - that is also a choice. You could ask to be moved to a hospital with greater skill levels in delivering breeches if you do not want the surgery.

The way you were spoken to is very common imo. Informed consent means little in maternity care and you have to remember that these people are professionals, not your friends. I know it sounds harsh, but ultimately, if you or your baby are harmed it will not make any difference to them, except if they do something against their guidelines where a complaint might be upheld. So they will follow those guidelines slavishly even if it is not the best thing for the woman in front of them.

I know that sounds like I am bringing my own issues to this, and I am, but I will just say - I fought and me and my babies are still here today. We wouldn't be if I'd listenined to the "advice" I was given.

pennee Sat 01-Aug-20 09:33:28

An ECV was sold to me as a normal thing and I went along with it. Like others I found it absolutely brutal not least because Im not,and wasn’t, big so it was like one big Chinese burn on my belly!
It failed and two people tried to turn her when I said please stop I can’t take no more. We went to C Section as she was still breech and came out with the cord 4 and a half time’s around her neck. Her turning would have been fatal and they admitted they couldn’t see the cord on the scan.
Trust your gut instinct. If it’s not for you then don’t let their comments make you doubt yourself.
A section isn’t fun in terms of recovery compared to a normal birth for most people but give me that anyday over an ECV and potential consequences

Seeline Sat 01-Aug-20 09:41:43

Due to complications with my first labour, I was expecting a section with my second, however my consultant changed his mind about half way through. I was therefore really disappointed when baby turned out to be transverse and I was back to a section again. ECV was suggested to me. This was 16 years ago, before research on the internet really existed and I don't remember any risks being mentioned. It was a 'we can do it while you're here' approach. I had it done successfully and with only minor discomfort.

When I eventually gave birth the baby had the cord round her neck and it was only a very capable midwife who spotted something was up and was able to deliver her very carefully who prevented serious injury or worse. The cord also had a knot in it.

Of course I can't be sure, but I'm fairly certain that both these were the rest of ECV. I'd I had known then the risks I would never have gone through with it.

You are right to go with what you want. I would report all the staff to PALS. They should not be pressurising you like that.

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